Winter's Wonders

It’s been a snowy winter so far where I am, and I’ve been using all of the winter weather to get plenty of work done. I love to be out in nature when writing—even if “nature” means writing in my car in a sunny spot at the local park!  I know it sounds a little crazy, but it gets me away from other distractions and the feel of sun on my face reminds me summer is right around the corner!  My winter “work uniform” includes pair of alpaca-fur fingerless gloves, which have come in handy as I create the second book in the Coral Cove series (title to be announced – hopefully soon!):

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“Author” time runs differently from “reader” time, however, which is why, although I’m currently writing the second book, the first Coral Cove book, All I Want Is You, is now available for preorder at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble  and comes out the last Tuesday in May. Once again, the cover art team at Avon has outdone themselves.  I think this might just be my favorite cover ever – although it’s a tough call because the cover gods have blessed me many, many times.

AIWIY cover

Winter is for friends and family, and I spent a lot of time with both this past Christmas season. Here’s a fun picture from the annual Romancing the Holidays booksigning at the West Chester, OH Barnes and Noble, where author friends Lori FosterJules Bennett, and I were photobombed by none other than Santa himself! (photo courtesy of Lori Foster)

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December also marked the re-release of Wildest Dreams a book I am mega-excited to get to introduce to readers who missed it the first time around.  A sweet reader friend, Marcie, even brought along a copy of the original edition so I could get a picture of both the old and the new side-by-side.  And is the new cover gorgeous or what?  Again, thank you Avon art department!

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Here' something fun! Back when I was writing Wildest Dreams (first published as In Your Wildest Dreams in 2005) I took a research trip to New Orleans accompanied by my best friend, Robin. We put a fun travelogue with lots of pictures on my website, and I've just now had the travel diary added again, so I hope you'll check it out. (Random observation: I have better hair now. I was only highlighting then - and now I color all the way ;))

I stayed close to home for the holidays, however. Other festivities included an annual holiday luncheon at Lori Foster’s house for readers and authors, and local publisher Samhain kindly welcomed me to their holiday bash as well.  I myself hosted a game night with girlfriends, and well … let’s just say it’s a good thing I can write because drawing is clearly not my forte.  This is me drawing a dog in a kennel – I would have given him all four legs, but I was in a hurry! ;) 

Toni's art

Of course, now that the new year has begun, much of the fun and games have given away to more taxing times! While I love creating heroines you can root for, heroes you’d like to meet in real life, and sweet and sexy stories that bring them together, some of my writing duties are less than thrilling…

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Maybe you’re working on your taxes too. Maybe the post-holiday blues are getting to you. If so, come visit my Facebook page, where I’m currently giving away a signed book EVERY WEEK to someone who comments on one of my posts. No hoops to jump through, no tricks or games to play—just come join in the conversation with my readers and me. It’s easy and fun, and we can all use more of that!

In the past few weeks, many of my readers shared with me on Facebook their “wildest dreams” for 2014.  Being a positive thinking sort of chick, I believe that if you have faith and give the best you have to give, you can get everything you want from life. Being able to share my books with so many people has been a dream come true for me, and I wish the same joy in life for everyone reading this.  

What’s next for me?  In March, I’ll be attending the Public Library Association’s conference in Indianapolis, where I’ll be signing books and speaking on a romance panel – hope to see some of my librarian readers there!  In May, I’ll be heading back to the Big Easy for Romantic Times convention.  And right after that, All I Want Is You will hit shelves!

But for now it’s back to the business of a cold, snowy winter  May you all have a warm and cozy season filled with lots of wonderful books! 

Toni 

P.S. I’ve been out and about on the internet. If you’d enjoy learning more about what I read, advice for writers, and the stories behind the stories, do check out the following links (and, of course, come join me on FacebookPinterest and Instagram!)

Toni recommends upcoming romance novels at USA Today

Toni named on USA Today’s list of Best Romances of 2012

Toni blogs for writers about embracing career challenges

It's a Sizzlin' Summer

  One Reckless Summer   hit the  USA Today   bestseller list!

 One Reckless Summer  hit the USA Today  bestseller list!

What a wild ride this summer has been for Toni!

In June, Barnes and Noble named her their Spotlight Author, which resulted in her first Destiny book, One Reckless Summer, climbing to #2 on the Nook rankings just behind Dan Brown's latest. It stayed in the top five for over a week, then hit the USA Today bestseller list—four years after it first came out! Toni was totally stunned and completely thrilled. Thanks to the book's newfound success and the great reviews for Half Moon Hill, new readers are falling in love with Destiny—and Toni could not be more grateful to everyone who has read and shared their love of her books.

This summer, Toni has gotten to reconnect and visit with lots of friends. She was delighted to welcome fellow Avon authors Cathy MaxwellElizabeth Boyle, and Lorraine Heath to the greater Cincinnati area for a signing at one of Toni's favorite bookstores, Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Crestview Hills, KY. 

When they weren't signing books, they took some time out to play:  Toni took them on a quick tour of Cincinnati and out for a fun dinner.

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Only a couple of weeks later, Toni's dear friend, author Lori Armstrong/Lorelei James came to stay with Toni – but they didn’t stay home! Among their stops was the famous (or infamous?) town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky--where the locals routinely elect a dog for mayor.

But Lori didn't just come to play with Toni. Together, they met readers and signed books at one of Toni's favorite annual events--the Reader & Author Get Together sponsored by Lori Foster.

Even though the Get Together has blossomed from 50 attendees to over 500 in the last eight years, Toni still finds it warm, friendly, and a great time and place to catch up with friends and fans. Lori Foster pulled off the event with her usual grace--even though she had a broken arm!

Toni with Lori Armstrong/Lorelei James

Toni with Lori Armstrong/Lorelei James

Toni with Lori Foster

Toni with Lori Foster

When she’s not working or visiting with friends, Toni has been enjoying some home decorating and landscaping.  Check out her daisies, which remind her of Whisper Falls.  

 

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To get an idea of what Toni’s personal style and decorating inspirations are, join her on Instagram and Pinterest.  For readers who like to get in touch by postal mail, her new address is P.O. Box 1053, Union, KY 41091.  If you stick a SASE in your envelope, you just might find some Toni Blake bookmarks in your mailbox one day!

Toni's updated her digital home as well. Her website has a new host and a new look, so stop by and let her know what you think. She loves hearing from readers in person, by mail, by email and on Facebook. She reads all of her comments and responds as often as she can.

The biggest event of Toni’s summer is almost upon her:  The annual conference of the Romance Writers of America (RWA).  Thousands of writers, readers, and publishing professionals will converge on Atlanta, Georgia next week for workshops, meetings, awards ceremonies…and parties!  If you’re in the greater Atlanta area, you can attend the HUGE RWA booksigning, open to the public, and meet Toni and hundreds of other fabulous authors.  Join them all at the Atlanta Marriott on Wednesday July 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. For a more intimate signing, you can also meet up with Toni at the Eagle Eye Bookstore in Decatur, Georgia on Saturday July 20, from 2 to 3:30 PM.

As busy as she has been, Toni’s been working feverishly on her next book, Coral Cove. Avon artists have already shared the beautiful cover art with herand Toni looks forward to sharing a sneak peek of the artwork with her readers soon.  Also coming soon on Facebook and at www.toniblake.com:  the gorgeous cover for Wildest Dreams, which comes out this December.

But in the meantime, if you love having great narrators read you great stories, you can get Half Moon Hill on audiobook – the audio version just became available on July 10.